Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm unschooling my three year old. It's called "life".

I was a bit worried. I was suffering from mummy-guilt. You know, the kind that creeps up on you when all your Facebook friends with similarly-aged kids are posting about how their three year old is learning subtraction or taking Montessori inspired nature walks then painting about it to classical music in the nude, but all you've done that day is dig weeds in the garden, crack out the play dough and walk the dog.

So I went online and printed off some random preschool homeschooling materials, determined to catch Peanut up. (if you're looking for the good stuff, check out 2 Teaching Mommies, they have printable themed units on dinosaurs! Yay!)

But after I had cut out all the number peg cards, and the 1-20 puzzle, and made the size sorting game, and asked Peanut to play... I realised that she was already great at this stuff. She'd picked it up through osmosis. Because when we walk the dog, we say the street numbers, and when we dig weeds, we study the worms, and when we play play dough, she learns that if she makes three little balls, and her sister steals one, she only has two left...

So we're off to the park today. Worksheets are for suckers.


  1. I went through a bit of a revelation on this. In the early days I had these ideas of structured play, classes, etc. Then suddenly I don't know what hit me, maybe 2 or 3 things I'd read, but I collapsed contentedly into the view that absolutely nothing was more valuable than creative, imaginative play. Last weekend we spent about 2 hours with me drinking coffee, laughing and loving it, while Mitts and Bear arranged cushions and books around the couch which they climbed on and off while talking about pirates, sharks and treasure.

  2. Exactly. I was searching for the age to start homeschooling, and then I realized I was already unschooling my 3 y. o. twins. They direct the teaching with their everyday play and learn fast!I have to learn to let go and trust life.

    I love your post :)

  3. I agree......the other day on one of my already blogged about days in the kitchen when I made dish after dish to freeze and baked about three cakes....I said to my husband, wow, we have done nothing together today, as in 'play'.....and he looked at me and laughed. He said, 'what do you call this then?' and he was right, little m makes cakes...we measure, we count, we smell, and stir..we learn what is hot what is not, whats good to lick , what is was learning and play, I just didnt realise it...after three kids maybe my brain is getting all derr.......but like you say, I do have a bit of doubt....but then they are home, with me all day being loved by me...and learning from child care any day.

  4. Thanks for this encouragement. I laughed out loud at the painting to classical music in the nude, but it does feel that others are doing so much more than I am sometimes. But then I realize how much my daughter already knows just because we hang out and it's refreshing.

  5. LOL! I love that. "Worksheets are for suckers." This a great little post about just how unnecessary preschool and those endless worksheets are. I think they are actually harmful.

    I am unschooling a 1, 3, 4, and 5 year old. Every now and then I have a panic attack that I am not "teaching" my oldest anything that his friends are learning in school but then I remember, he already know the academic stuff they are teaching in K and the non academic stuff......well I don't really *want* him to learn the crap that a large group of 5 and 6 year olds can teach him.

    Thanks for this. I'm off to share it!

  6. Thank you so much for this humourous and encouraging little post. I too laughed loudly at the "painting in the nude" thing because you're absolutely right! Although my son is only 9 months old right now, I often wonder if I'll be able to do enough for him when he's a little older and ready for "school"... Though I guess one could argue that school pretty much started already, now that he's able to interact on a higher intellectual level. I'm definitely planning on homeschooling him and you've given me the confidence to know that "school" is what happens every day in and out of the home :) ...and that yes, worksheets ARE for suckers! As a certified school teacher, I'm kind of going through a little "unschooling" myself, as I rethinks definition of

  7. Ahhh! My son helped me post my incomplete comment lol :) Anyways thanks for the great post an ill be following your blog from now on :)

  8. Oh, Am I glad I found you!
    We, too, have moved a lot.
    I, too, worried about the pre-school thing.

    I hope you will check out my post about my dear, sweet pre-school drop-outs, Walter and Wilma. Let me reassure you: Things will be fine.

  9. I love the idea of unschooling, but I had been a little intimidated by it. I had no idea that we are already doing it. Yay us!! Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration.

  10. Welcome to the unschooling club, ladies. We have many names, Free Range Mom is probably the consummate nickname for those of us with this attitude about child rearing in general, not just schooling. Check out:
    The Hurried Child, 25th Anniversary Edition (you are part of a movement that has been growing, albeit slowly, for years)
    Confessions of a Slacker Mom
    The Three Martini Playdate (this one is a stitch)
    And from the comments, I gather that most of you have preschool children. Well, rig for impact, because unschooling in elementary school is a challenge.

  11. I have let the opportunity slip by and it is now too late to unschool my children. They have already been schooled...
    I wish I had had the strength at the time to buck the trend of our traditional education system to give my children a better chance to develop naturally through unschooling.
    I am glad that you have not left it too late. :-)